The United Nations said on Thursday it would name a coordinator to probe the fate of detainees in Assad’s prisons, a move sought by the opposition as the Assad regime has been torturing, starving and killing people in custody.
More than 100,000 people are languishing in Assad regime detention centers after five years of civil war.
The UN Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura said he would appoint a senior technical expert “in the next few days”.
“It’s a very delicate issue,” de Mistura told reporters. “There have been some rumors that when you actually mention the name of a detainee, that detainee disappears.”
Two diplomats told Reuters a former expert of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) would be named. One said the woman coordinator would start working on Monday.
The opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) has made the release of women and children detainees a priority.
One of the main reasons the HNC decided to suspend participation in the negotiations in the current round of Geneva is the refusal of the Assad regime to release detainees. The HNC has consistently demanded the release of all detainees as stipulated in the UN Security Council resolution 2254.
UN investigators have said detainees held by the government are being killed on a massive scale amounting to a state policy of “extermination” of the population.
More than 50,000 “Caesar” photos, smuggled out in 2013, revealed torture endured by inmates in state facilities. Fewer than 800 bodies have been identified. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Agencies)